Best cruises for families on holiday

Cash in on some quality family time on these family-friendly cruise lines.

Multi-generational holidays are the new family reunions. They’re an ideal way to catch up, unwind and explore with loved ones without having to worry about taking care of accommodation, food and transportation between ports.

Whether you’re a family of three or a party of 20, these lines are the specialists when it comes to organising family cruises that tick all the boxes for young and old. All you need to do is choose the destination.

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1. Disney Cruise Line

Disney has secured its spot as a magical brand the whole family can enjoy, and its cruises are no different.

There's a little bit of magic in store for every member of your crew when you board a Disney cruise ship. Adults have freedom to escape to their own heavenly oases onboard while little ones can play in supervised youth groups or in activity playground.

  • Activities for the whole family: Broadway-style live shows, Walt Disney theatre, karaoke, trivia, music and dance deck parties, family-friendly port activities and kids' pools.
  • Family cabins: Disney's liners have deluxe family staterooms that are ideal for up to five guests. For larger families, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have over 500 connecting cabins.
  • Family discounts: Discounted rates for children sharing a cabin with parents.

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Norwegian has a reputation for providing some of the best entertainment at sea for young and old.

Featuring Broadway-style musicals, areas for various sports and pools complete with waterslides and deckchairs, Norwegian's activities aim to bring families together onboard. If you're looking for the best European cruise for families, this line is it.

  • Activities for the whole family: Broadway musicals, mini-golf, bowling, circus and magician shows, water parks, rope courses and rock climbing walls.
  • Family cabins: Connecting staterooms are available for multi-generational parties. Family staterooms are best for families of four.
  • Family discounts: On most sailings, Norwegian offers discounts for the third to the eighth guest in one party.

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Not all families are made the same, so Carnival gives you and your brood plenty of options to play it your way.

With basketball courts and a fast and steep water slide for kids, and a casino and adults-only retreat for parents, there's a reason why Carnival is referred to as the "fun" cruise line. It currently offers more than 200 family-friendly activities across

  • Activities for the whole family: Dr Seuss-themed entertainment, water slides, mini-golf, swimming pools, basketball and dive-in movies.
  • Family cabins: Family staterooms can accommodate up to four. Interconnecting rooms are available
  • Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth guests in the same room.

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With home ports in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, P&O keeps the family trip close to home with a shorter journey to the wharf, making it one of the best cruises for families in Australia.

As a bonus for older families, P&O limits the number of children who embark, so you can expect a good mix of ages onboard its family-friendly fleet. As an estimate, around one third of its passengers are either families or multi-generationals.

  • Activities for the whole family: Movies by the pool, theatre performances, live music and trivia and game shows.
  • Family cabins: Three- and four-berth rooms. Cabin configurations tend to be twin beds with one to two upper bunk beds.
  • Family discounts: Discounts available for groups of 16 guests or more.

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Winner of the Top Cruise Lines for Families by Travel + Leisure readers in 2013, Royal Caribbean creates holidays the whole family can enjoy.

It achieves this with a blend of one-of-a-kind kids, family and adult activities both onboard and onshore. These include a skydiving simulator and surfing simulator. Royal Caribbean also offers group discounts and customisation options.

  • Activities for the whole family: Roller skating rink, bumper cars, circus school, surf simulator, mini-golf, exclusive DreamWorks shows and parades.
  • Family cabins: Generous family and two-bedroom cabins can accommodate up to eight people.
  • Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.

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6. Captain Cook Cruises

When it comes to the best voyages for families in Australia, Captain Cook Cruises is right up there.

Aussie born and bred, this cruise line sails in and around our nation. It features up to week-long cruises through the Murray River and the Fiji islands. Cruise ships to Fiji have kids' clubs, childminding services, swimming pools and entertainment.

  • Activities for the whole family: Sightseeing, whale watching, hop-on/hop-off and adventurous shore excursions.
  • Family cabins: Family cabins are available on Fiji cruises. The Murray Darling paddlesteamer has rooms capable of accommodating up to three people.
  • Family discounts: Child discounts available when booking adjoining staterooms on Fiji cruises. Discounts for triple occupancy available on Murray Darling cruises.

Best cruises for families of 4

  • Costa Cruises. Generous family cabins can accommodate up to four people, with special discounts for third and fourth guests.
  • Norwegian Cruises. Book two double suites to accommodate you and your kids, and double the fun with interconnecting rooms.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Family rooms are made for up to four people, and you can take advantage of family discounts.
  • Celebrity Cruises. You can book a family veranda room, which can accommodate two adults and two children in separate bedrooms.

Best cruises for families of 5

  • Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean offers family rooms that can fit up to six people, with two twin beds, a pullout sofa and double bunk beds.
  • Disney Cruises. Family rooms can accommodate up to five people, so you can enjoy the magic of Disney without having to pay for an extra suite.
  • Cunard. This cruise line doesn't have any five-person rooms, but you can combine a triple and a double room for the best value.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Most rooms are made for families of four but oceanview staterooms can fit families of five.

Family cruise cabins compared

Family room types Maximum occupancy per room Are interconnecting rooms available?
Disney Cruise Line Deluxe family staterooms 5 Yes
Norwegian Cruise Line Family staterooms 4 Yes
Carnival Cruise Line Family staterooms 4 Yes
P&O Cruises Australia Quad-share rooms and suites 4 Yes
Royal Caribbean International Family and two-bedroom cabins 8 Yes
Captain Cook Cruises Family rooms (Fiji), paddle steamer cabins (Murray Darling) 4 (Fiji) and 3 (Murray Darling) Yes

Importance of cruise travel insurance for families

Bringing the whole brood along on a trip isn't cheap and takes a lot of planning to make it happen.

If anything doesn't go quite according to that plan it's assuring to know that you can get cruise travel insurance that's specifically designed for sailings. Compared to regular travel insurance, cruise plans can include added benefits like missed shore excursions if there's bad weather in a port, lost or damaged formal wear if something happens to your bag along the journey and cabin confinement compensation if your family comes down with a contagious stomach bug..

Top cruise deals and flights

Uniworld Uniworld

Fly free to Europe or get up to $1,500 off cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Basel, Budapest and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Mediterranean cruises from $804

Valid for travel on 10 November 2019 with MSC Grandiosa. Destinations include France, Italy, Malta and more. 5% off from members and and addition 5% off for early booking. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

50% off deposit + Up to $500 OBC with Holland America cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020-2021. Includes $25 beverage card for kids, complimentary pinnacle grill dinner and more. Destinations include Auckland, Sydney, Christchurch, Tasmania and more. T&Cs apply.

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G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 20% off worldwide cruises

Valid for travel on select 2019-2020 dates booked by 31 October 2019. Destinations include Maldives, British Virgin Islands, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Peru, Ecuador and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Extra $200 OBC on 2020 sailings with Seabourn cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 dates booked by 31 October 2019. Offer includes upgrades, additional OBC, air credit and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $1,200 air credit + up to $500 OBC with Seabourn cruises

Valid for travel on select 2019 and 2020 voyages booked by 20 November 2019. Includes extra $1,000 shipboard credit for suite or penthouse bookings. Destinations include Auckland, London, Bali and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

Sydney Harbour Cruise with lunch in $29

Offer valid until 29 February 2020. Voucher valid for 80 minutes with three course lunch. T&Cs apply.

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My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $3,000 in extras with 19-night Mediterranean cruises + flights

Valid for departure at 13 March 2021 sailing with MSC Cruises. Includes daily meals, return flights, entertainment and more. Destinations include Egypt, Italy, France, Paris and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Cruises to East Asia from $219

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Sample fare is Japan-China with MSC Bellissima. T&Cs apply.

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My Cruises My Cruises

Get up to $3,000 in extras with MSC Japan cruises + flights

Valid for departure at 10 October 2020. Includes return flights, daily meals, entertainment and more. Destinations include Osaka, Tokyo and more. T&Cs apply.

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Princess Cruise Lines Princess Cruise Lines

Up to $1,000 air credit + up to $400 OBC

Valid for cruise on select 2019 and 2020 dates. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific. Air credit and on-board credit varies, depending on the duration. T&Cs apply.

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Princess Cruise Lines Princess Cruise Lines

Become a Princess Cruise member to receive added benefits

Members can receive discounts, deals, special upgrades on amenities and vacation protection. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

7-night P&O Tasmania Cruise from $899

Valid for travel on 7 December 2020. Sailing from Melbourne aboard the Pacific Dawn. T&Cs apply.

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My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $4,000 free in extras with 10-night Europe cruises + return flights

Valid for travel on 1 October 2020. Includes $200 deposit, return flights, meals and more. Destinations include Italy, Croatia, Greece and more. T&Cs apply.

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My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $2,000 free in extras with 12-night Cunard cruises + flights

Valid for departure at 4 November 2020. Includes $400 deposit, sightseeing of northern lights, return flights, meals and more. Destinations include London, Norway and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 50% off Africa cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019-2021. Includes free meals and drinks in select destinations across Africa. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $1,000 air credit + up to $400 OBC with Princess Landmark cruises

Valid for select 2019-2020 travel dates booked until 12 December 2019. Destinations include Europe, Alaska, Japan, Asia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Australia, Caribbean and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 45% off 2nd guest + kids cruise from $19 each

Valid for travel between 3 October 2019 - 8 May 2021 booked until 31 October 2019 on all international sailings with Royal Caribbean cruises. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $400 OBC with Celebrity cruises

Valid for travel from April - October 2020. Destinations include London, Rome, Barcelona, Vancouver, Hawaii and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 50% Australian cruises

Valid for travel on selected dates. Sample cruise is for a 2-night cruise with Princess Cruises. T&Cs apply.

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Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

Up to $1,000 off 16-day Canada and Alaska cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Banff National Park, Blue River Safari, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon USA, and more. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Up to 10% off worldwide cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Europe, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Egypt, Asia and India. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Melbourne Cup: 7-night P&O cruises from $1,425

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020 departing from Brisbane. Includes private ensuite, daily meals, entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free double upgrade on Cunard cruises

Valid for new booking on select Cunard Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Asia voyages between 01 October 2019 and close of business on 30 November 2019. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Carnival Australia free upgrade

Enjoy a free upgrade when you book select Carnival Australia cruises sailing between 14 October 2019 and 30 December 2020. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

4-night P&O cruises from $499

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020 - 2021. Sample fare departs from Adelaide. Destinations include Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, Tasmania, Brisbane, Cairns, Isle of Pines and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway
FLASH SALE

$25 deposit on cruises with flights + hotels

Valid for travel until 15 August 2020 on hotel, airfare and cruise packages. Destinations include Hawaii, New Zealand, Sydney, Bora Boram Honolulu, Singapore and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 34% off Cunard cruises

Valid for travel on March 2021 across Sydney. Includes reduced deposits, onboard credit and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

Sydney: Christmas lunch or dinner harbour cruise from $69

Valid for travel on select dates in November - December 2019. Upgrade for free-flowing beer, wine, summer cocktail, sparkling wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee, as selected upon purchase. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $1,000 air credit with Holland America

Valid on select 2019 and 2020 sailings. Destinations include New Zealand, Australia, Northern Europe, South Pacific and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

Up to $200 on board credit on last-minute cruises

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Moreton Island, Noumea, Hamilton Island, Vanuatu, Brisbane, Sydney and more. Cruises start from $315 per person for 3-night comedy cruises. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 46% off Celebrity cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe, Pacific, Hawaii, Canada, USA East Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Up to $500 OBC + free drinks package

Valid for cruise on select dates in 2020 - 2021 with Cunard Cruises. Destinations include Japan, Alaska, New Zealand and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free 2-category cabin upgrade with Azamara Cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free Europe flights with Viking River Cruises

Valid for 2020-2021 sailings. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 18% off cruises + free flights

Valid for travel from November 2019 - February 2020, including over Christmas with Viking Ocean Cruises. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand and Asia. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

10% off 10-day Danube & Prague cruises

Valid for travel on select dates. Discount applies for pre-bookings for up to 3 days prior the cruise departure date. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

Sydney: Harbour cruise from $29

Valid for travel on select dates. Includes a three-course lunch. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

20-night USA cruises + flights from $3,799

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Honolulu, Hawaii and more. Includes flights from Sydney, accommodation, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

4-day Sydney cruises from $274

Valid for departure on 22 November 2019 with P&O cruises. Available on the Pacific Explorer departing from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
2 Oct 2019 Fly free to Europe or get up to $1,500 off cruises ********
11 Oct 2019 Mediterranean cruises from $804 ********
21 Aug 2019 50% off deposit + Up to $500 OBC with Holland America cruises ********
14 Oct 2019 Up to 20% off worldwide cruises ********
14 Oct 2019 Extra $200 OBC on 2020 sailings with Seabourn cruises ********
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